ATP vs WTA – Differences and Similarities

In this article, I will look at the differences and similarities between the ATP and WTA tours, from the number of tournaments played to the prize money awarded at events.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is the governing body of men’s professional tennis, with its main objective being the organization of tournaments on the ATP Tour, Challenger Tour, and Champions Tour.

The governing body in women’s tennis is the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), which was founded in 1973 by the great Billie Jean King.




On the ATP tour, tournaments are split into four different levels (250, 500, 1000, and Grand Slams), with around 70-80 tournaments being played each year (2023: 72).

WTA Tournaments have five different levels (125*, 250, 500, 1000, and Grand Slams), with 78 tournaments being played in the 2022 season.

*In Men’s Tennis, the Challenger 125 tournaments would be considered the equivalent of WTA125 events.

Number of Sets in Grand Slams

Probably one of the best know differences between women’s and men’s tennis is the fact that male players have to play the best of five set matches at grand slam events, whereas female players play the best of three set matches.

Year End Finals

Both the ATP and WTA tours hold year-end finals in November each year, which showcases the top singles and doubles players of that year.

Grand Slam Winners

It is generally accepted that the grand slam tournaments are more open on the women’s side as over the past 10 years (2013-2022) only nine different men have won a grand slam singles title, while over the same period, 21 different women have won.

Tennis Balls

Generally speaking, female and male players playing in combined ATP/WTA events will play with the same tennis ball.

However, different balls are sometimes used in certain tournaments e.g. at the 2022 US Open, the men used the extra-duty Wilson US Open ball while the women used the regular-duty version.

Prize Money

Although equal prize money is awarded to male and female players at all four grand slam events, there is still a big difference in the amount of prize money awarded at smaller tournaments e.g. the male winner of the singles event at the 2023 ASB Classic won $97,760 while the female winner only won $34,228.

If you look at the top 100 prize money leaders in men’s and women’s tennis for 2022, you will see that the top 100 men won approximately $59 million dollars more than the top 100 women.

Top Earning Female Players in 2022

  • Iga Swiatek – $9,875,525
  • Ons Jabeur – $4,997,069
  • Caroline Garcia – $3,729,317
  • Elena Rybakina – $3,613,440
  • Jessica Pegula – $3,611,716
  • Coco Gauff – $3,051,953
  • Maria Sakkari – $2,481,419
  • Aryna Sabalenka – $2,461,320
  • Ashleigh Barty – $2,289,320
  • Simona Halep – $2,253,197

Top Earning Male Players in 2022

  • Carlos Alcaraz – $10,102,330
  • Novak Djokovic – $9,934,582
  • Rafael Nadal – $9,368,326
  • Casper Ruud – $8,126,816
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas – $6,614,416
  • Felix Auger-Aliassime – $4,801,292
  • Andrey Rublev – $4,666,954
  • Taylor Fritz – $4,570,481
  • Daniil Medvedev – $4,178,524
  • Hubert Hurkacz – $3,764,164

Summary of Differences and Similarities

Number of Sets in Grand SlamsBest of 5Best of 3
Grand Slam WinnersLess OpenMore Open
Tennis Balls (US Open)Extra-duty WilsonRegular-duty Wilson
2022 Prize Money LeaderCarlos Alcaraz – $10,102,330Iga Swiatek – $9,875,525